Why the Legislature Should Rip Off the Bandaid

When I was a child and scraped a knee or otherwise required a band-aid, I would dread removing it. Eventually, I learned that it hurt more to try peeling it off bit by bit than it did if I just gave it a good yank.

Fast forward to the Indiana General Assembly, and the back-and-forth about “four words and a comma.”

Leave aside all the rhetoric. Ignore who’s “right” and who’s “wrong,” and just look at the political realities.

If the legislature fails to extend full civil rights protections to LGBT Hoosiers, three things are guaranteed to happen: there will be a replay of the economic boycotts that threatened to knee-cap the state during the RFRA disaster; the business community will take out its anger on Republican officeholders (beginning with the Governor, but definitely not limited to His Holiness); and–worst of all, from the perspective of lawmakers trying desperately not to take a position on the issue— the battle will return in the next session. And the one after that, if necessary.

This is an issue that is crowding out other important matters that lawmakers need to address: infrastructure financing, education, economic development. It will continue to “suck the air” out of the legislative process until it is resolved. (And weenie bills with lots of caveats won’t cut it.)

Proponents of “four words and a comma” will come back again and again until those words and that comma are inserted into Indiana’s civil rights law. Furthermore, the ultimate success of their efforts really isn’t in doubt—as Bob Dylan said, you don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind is blowing. Prolonging the agony is like peeling back that band-aid a painful bit at a time.

Senator Long seems to understand that. Others, not so much.

Hint to Indiana lawmakers: It will hurt a lot less if you just rip that band-aid off and do the inevitable sooner rather than later.


  1. Senator Banks has authored SB66 to repeal RFRA. He has also authored SB144 – the bill that would essentially eliminate abortions in this state. He is the epitome of the religious right in this state.

    Unfortunately, he is my senator and he is also running for a seat in Congress. His only other interests are authoring bill after bill for veterans. Please don’t misunderstand me – I support veterans and their interests, but I do not support a state senator that has such narrow interests that he completely ignores the very important issues of infrastructure and the economy in our state.

    He is supported by the Club for Growth. If you do not know about this organization, you may want to check them out. It is made up of extremely wealthy extremely right wing powerful men that spend a lot of money in Washington and they have close ties to Indiana, which you will not be able to recognize via their website. Chris Choccola was the president until Dec 2014 when they replaced him with David McIntosh, a defeated Indiana congressman. Chris Choccola is the grandson of Howard Brembeck, the Chairman and CEO of Choretime Brock in Milford, IN until his death a few years ago.

  2. Nancy,

    “If you do not know about this organization, you may want to check them out.”

    You have ruined my day and it is only 7:30. As you suggested I checked out the Club of Growth. I see that the Koch Brothers are their big backers and they have been going after Donald Trump with a vengeance. That’s the good news. The bad news is…….. they aren’t against Ted Cruz. As a matter of fact, they have been an important financial backer of Cruz in the past.

    “Vengeance is mine sayeth the Koch Brothers”

  3. The bandaid we need to rip off is named Pence; removing him from leadership will uncover a stinking, festering wound which he and Daniels have kept hidden for years. RFRA was but a bit if the infection that seeped from under that bandaid into the public light and the stink of it spread across this state and this country. As Nancy mentioned; the anti-abortion laws are another bit of that festering wound which needs healing. The lax gun control referred to by President Obama recently is part of that same hidden infection and it is deadly.

    To remove Pence we need to find a way to spur John Gregg to action if he is to be the Democratic representative in November, hoping to get our votes. He seems to be sitting on his ass, twirling that mustache and believing he doesn’t need to tell us what his plans are (if he has any) for the state of Indiana and all residents – including LGBTs and women who want to make their own medical decisions and earn a decent wage. We also need to know his plan (hope, if he has any) to provide safety for all from being gunned down in our homes, workplaces, churches, schools, malls and on our streets. If not Gregg – is there a Democrat in this entire state qualified to replace Pence (that doesn’t really take much qualification) and the continuing domination of Daniels edicts in our government?

    Indiana is but a small part of this nation’s government; there are literally hundreds of Congressional seats up for grabs this year as well as gubernatorial races. ALL are important; without replacing the current Republican control (the national bandaid which needs to be ripped off) another Democratic president will be responsible for trying to remove that bandaid a little bit at a time. Hillary is part of corporate America; for me this works against her. But, more important; I keep wondering, will any Congress work better with a woman president than it has with our current biracial president? With the anti-woman platform of the GOP – I see no more advance for middle America than I see for the state of Indiana if Pence remains in control – and that is what I see happening due to the weakness of John Gregg. Add in the weakness of Donnelly in the Senate and that puts all of the responsibility representing Indiana on the shoulders of Rep. Andre Carson at the national level.

    Sheila is right; “weenie bills with a lot of caveats” will not work; especially with weenies at the helm spewing out the “weenie bills” on one issue, LGTB/RFRA, and ignoring all other deeply wounded areas of this state. Crumbling infrastructure, education, economic development; and I am going to add the state health care system, are all deeply infected wounds covered by the Pence/Daniels bandaid of all words and no action.

  4. JoAnn, I certainly agree with you about John Gregg. Gregg seems to be in some kind of suspended animation. He probably does not want to spend any money campaigning yet. But hey what does it cost to drive around state stay in a motel and start pressing the flesh so to speak and rallying the troops. He does not need to go to the expense of bringing along a 90 piece brass band. What Gregg needs to do as well as other Democrats is what is their vision for Indiana????

    Sadly, having observed the Democrat Party here in Indiana for years, their campaign slogan if they had one would be – “I am not a Republican, but I am real close”. No fire, not even a spark to turn on the Democrats and independents .

    Last night we saw in the Democrat Debate the clear choices. Bernie Sanders has bold plans and and vision. Bernie has the track record of walking the walk. I am not just behind Bernie, I walk along side him. I am hoping that others who call themselves Democrats will finally start thinking and acting “large” like Bernie.

    Another Dylan song seems appropriate, “The Times They Are A-Changin”.
    Come senators, congressmen
    Please heed the call
    Don’t stand in the doorway
    Don’t block up the hall
    For he that gets hurt
    Will be he who has stalled
    There’s a battle outside
    And it is ragin’
    It’ll soon shake your windows
    And rattle your walls
    For the times they are a-changin’.

  5. Louie. I could not agree more. What the National Democratic Party does not see yet is that the crowd of very angry people supporting Trump is simply the conservative side of the millions of very angry people in this country. The liberal ones want change too … big change. They see Bernie as the one to lead them there. Meanwhile, The Democratic Party in Indiana is blind to what is happening in its own back yard. The young adults are rising up and are willing to work and sacrifice for a better government, one that is fair and represents them, not the big corporations, the banks and the status quo. Look at what has happened with the Bernie campaign here in Indiana. All volunteer. Thousands of young adults out in the political world for the first time and gaining support every day. The local parties should be tapping into this. But like Gregg, where are they?????

  6. Nancy,

    Apology accepted. However, I’m back on the positive side of life. Being Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, I’m reminiscent about his visit to St. Augustine in 1964. Some feel St. Augustine was the turning point in the civil rights movement. St. Augustine is only 30 miles from Jacksonville. At the time of his visit, I was a prosecutor in the DA’s office in Jacksonville. But also, a member of the St. Augustine Golf Club.

    So an old lawyer friend of mine who had received his law degree from the University of Michigan called me and asked if I would host two of MLK’s principal attorneys: Harry Philo and Dean Rabb. They were the preeminent auto safety experts in Detroit years before Ralph Nader started his successful campaign. As it worked out, the three of us played 9 holes of golf every day in the late afternoon until the confrontation was over.

    Both were older than me, nevertheless, Harry was an important friend over the years. He became President of the American Bar Association. One of its most prestigious awards is named after him. The American Bar Association, for many years, was the one institution that had enough clout to prevent many ultra-conservative judges from being appointed, especially to the Supreme Court.

  7. Kudos to everyone that has posted on this blog today. Given all the column space that The Indianapolis Star devoted to the RFRA issue and Senator Long on Sunday I just wish that some of the “Letters to the Editor” in regard to their piece on this mess were so spirited and rational and also that the “Star” would even publish such comments.

    We desperately need a daily newspaper in Indianapolis that is a few more steps up from being tantamount to “My Weekly Reader” of long-ago grade school days. Perhaps, if we did, the true import of this reprehensible log jam in the state legislature and the crass pseudo-religious cynicism behind it would get the attention that it truly deserves. Since we currently have a major daily that devotes more column space to full page hearing aid ads or stories regarding new ice cream shops in Carmel than it does actual hard news the voters who could redress this situation through their votes are poorly served by it as an informational base on a scale that borders on being unimaginable.

    It’s pretty sad that it’s becoming quite clear to at least this observer that the only useful parts of the “Pravda of the Plains” are the TV and coupon sections. I would add to that the sports section of the newspaper if they didn’t act that reporting on the goings on at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway each year was a big imposition. As someone who had relatives that worked at The Star as reporters, columnists, and editors, including my Mom who as a rookie police reporter in the late 1940’s met a very good cop that ended up being my Dad, it is particularly galling.

  8. Then end of extreme conservatism is an interesting spectacle to behold and record and hopefully some real writer is doing that.

    Being disconnected from Indiana’s politics though, I’m going to segue here a little to the national scene.

    I enjoyed the debate last night and realized that to the realists left in the country the tally is 3 qualified Democratic candidates vs zero Republicans.

    In the blink of an eye Republicans will choose among the unqualified and Democracts among the qualified then the real sorting out will begin.

    It seems preordained somehow that the most likely outcome will be Hillary or Bern vs Cruz or Trump.

    Those decisions will cause a virtual avalanche of money to start. If the D choice is Bern every monied interest will pile on to the R choice, if Hilary some will come her way but more the other way.

    What money really buys is TV. So I’m thinking that the campaign will be prodigious RTV and more or less D grass roots.

    That spectacle will be fundamental to American history. (I’ve already launched a small salvo by plastering Facebook with pictures of Archie Bunker with the caption of “Donald Trump without his father’s money”. You too can do that. Ask your kids how.

    As young people have mostly already realized that TV is a vast wasteland and moved on, while geriatrics are still addicted to it, the race may boil down to a generation thing. The new replacing the old.

    The good news is that there’s way more new than old.

  9. Another generational attribute that could be decisive is climate science vs business mythology. I think that we need to keep the threat of living in a dysfunctional atmosphere high on the list of campaign topics.

  10. I live in Austin, Texas. I love reading this daily. Y’all are a reminder that Texas isn’t the only state putting up with the long term effects of the Koch brothers and their man, Ted Cruz. We must stop Cruz. Read David Brooks’ recent op Ed re: Cruz in the NYT. We also all need to get more candidates on the ballot. I have a friend who got annoyed at a Texas Congressman (GOP) and decided to run for Congress. Just like that. She has the courage of her convictions.

  11. Tom and Pete,


    After taking Nancy’s good advice and googling the Club of Growth and observing the Koch Brothers influence, I thought I would try a little googling again: “the Koch Brothers German ancestry.” I located a terrific article confirming Pete’s prediction of how the presidential race would play out. It’s all there in the Koch Brothers ancestral modus operandi. It’s all about media propaganda.

    Pete you were right.

    See http://www.alternet.org/story/153027.

  12. I like Ms Kennedy’s band-aid analogy. It reminds me of my thought about large organizations or groups of any nature who find themselves split or divided on how to make a change. I’m aware that it’s impossible to jump a chasm in small steps or increments. Jumping a chasm requires one giant leap, a one and done action.

    I’ve never had an issue with the LGB community as per having two beloved and respected members from the paternal side of my family aligned with the LGB group. Why on earth would anyone wish to discriminate against my uncle, a graduate of the Harvard Graduate School of Design, who designed and implemented a large land-grant university’s first Graduate School of Planning? Why would anyone wish to discriminate against my 30-year old niece, a Nurse Practitioner, who along with her same-sex partner, an MD, operate a medical practice in Colorado? By the way, these family members also grew up with me on a large family-owned farm in rural West KY where sexual orientation is at the bottom of the heap of things to worry or fret about.

    On the other hand and without any animus toward anyone or any group, I wonder occasionally if the passage of the LGBT protections has hit a speedbump or roadblock with the addition of protections for those who identify as transgender? Is it possible that thoughtful people understand and respect those with differing sexual orientation, but do not understand those who claim gender identification as a protected category? Another honest question, is it possible that Caitlyn/Bruce Jenner’s highly publicized transition from male to female did more harm than good in introducing the transgender/gender identification situation to the public?

  13. BSH,

    “Is it possible that thoughtful people understand and respect those with differing sexual orientation, but do not understand those who claim gender identification as a protected category.”

    You’re on to something, but it’s a rocky road to travel. I’m on the record against discrimination against transgender people. But you’re right. There’s a difference between sexual and gender orientation. it’s hard to communicate. And it can lead to the defeat of LGB initiatives. However, on the other hand, I can see why It’s included. How else can you protect transgender people? You’ll never get a separate transgender ordinance.

  14. Stay tuned for more political theatre and high drama. It must be excruciating for the IN legislature to have to make a real decision. The debate and discussion will be spent creating a way to spin their final word to allow the base to continue living in the 19th century and provide big business with the welcoming atmosphere it wants. Should be entertaining and unproductive.

  15. Here’s an informative NPR analyses of our election scene.


    The gist of it is the the most significant base for the GOP are white, blue collar workers. In fact they will, more than any other group, determine who wins the the Republican primary.

    The GOP’s downfall is that they are a rapidly shrinking population in % of US voters.

    So we will be stuck with their preference for Republican candidate but they will be stuck with our preference for President.

  16. BSH and Marv, why can’t we protect everyone’s rights? What will it finally take for society to see that we are not all alike and that it is OK? Lordy, I’m tired of this hair splitting debate over the most personal aspects of people’s lives.

  17. Theresa, I think that the root cause of the political shinanigans currently infesting America is that Republicans have no accomplishments to campaign on. They haven’t for decades.

    They can’t say nothing so they make up scary campfire stories to hold people’s attention.

    Even they must be surprised at how many of us love to be scared.

  18. “crowding out other important matters that lawmakers need to address”
    It is also a handy smoke screen replacing DST as the distraction du jour.

  19. Theresa,

    “BSH and Marv, why can’t we protect everyone’s rights?”

    Simply put, in this country, we seem to always need a SCAPEGOAT? In other words, there’s a good chance you might see LGB ordinances passed but not with a T. Who do you then scapegoat when you add the T?

    By coincidence, last night after many years, I opened up to a chapter labeled “Is the South Fascist?” in “An American Dilemma: The Negro Problem and Modern Democracy” by Gunnar Mydral (1944). The book is 1500 pages and was commissioned by the Carnegie Foundation. Mydral was from Sweden and had a very keen eye:

    “On account of the one-party system and the precarious state of civil liberties, the South is sometimes referred to as fascist. This is, however, wrong and just as wrong of the present as of the earlier South…………The “regimentation” which keeps the South politically solid is not an organization for anything—least of all for a general policy—It is a regimentation AGAINST the Negro. The South is static and defensive, not dynamic and aggressive…….The conservative Southerner is not so certain as he sometimes sound. He is a split personality. Part of his heart belongs to the American Creed. And if one argues that this is mere hypocrisy, he is entirely missing the point. The Southern conservative white man’s faith in American democracy, which he is certainly not living up to, and the Constitution, which is circumventing, are living forces of decisive dynamic significance.” pp. 458-462

    Times have changed a lot in the past 70 years, but some things always stay the same in America. Like, who is going to be at the top of the scapegoat list.?

  20. On this website many seem to focus on history and analysis and explanation and labeling, all good and interesting stuff, but the bottom line is what we do moving forward.

    I think that we more or less agree that we have the best (and maybe last) oppotunity to end the tyranny of conservatism and go back to what works, liberal democracy.

    The next thing to do, IMO, is to support either Bernie or Hillary in the upcoming primaries and convention.

    I will admit to not having made that decision yet. I could live with either, but to me the deciding factor will be who will get the most actually done in terms of solving Anerica’s existential problems and who offers the lowest risk of the worst case scenario, a Republican President.

    I personally would value opinions along those lines.

  21. Pete,

    “On this website many seem to focus on history and analysis and explanation and labeling, all good and interesting stuff, but the bottom line is what we do moving forward.”

    “The next thing to do, IMO, is to support either Bernie or Hillary in the upcoming primaries and convention

    The election is important, but people vote. The people are not static. An evaluation of who is the best choice can’t be made without evaluating where the people are going to be in November. That’s just not your thing. You’re definitely not a sociologist.

    There is more to this than political systems. What direction the fears and prejudices will take is just as important than the platforms. Ted Cruz is a master of divisiveness. Donald Trump is no slouch. Hillary Clinton is a woman. Bernie Sanders is a Jew and a socialist on top of that.

    There is no countervailing force against the Tea Party. Do you think they’re going to be sitting still. You need to read-up on the prime minister elections in France in the mid-30s.

    Fears and prejudices can be overriding factors in passing LGB(T) ordinances. They don’t go away in a presidential election either and especially not in this one. Cornell West, one of the most significant African-Americans, has in the past few days moved to support Bernie Sanders. Is that good or bad? How does that affect white voters? Does none of that make any difference?

    The fact that the media doesn’t touch the subject of anti-Semitism in America doesn’t make it go away. In fact by doing so, they have put it up right there with racism. Cornell West knows that the Jews and the African-Americans are in the same “boat.” That’s why he went aboard.

    Should we forget about all of this when we decide whether to support Bernie or Hillary? I would suggest, very strongly, that it needs to be analyzed. One thing is for sure, it will never be analyzed by the New York media.

  22. Thanks for your opinions Marv. I really like Bernie. The only issue is trying to figure out if there is a difference between he and Hillary in terms of how the opposition would react to either and if that would make a difference in who would get the most of the agenda actually accomplished.

    Any ideas on that?

  23. Pete,

    Let me tell you about the media from a first- hand experience.

    After 9/11, the aftermath wasn’t analyzed right away. A week afterwards, Diane Rehm invited Deepak Chopra to be her guest and discuss the situation on National Public Radio. I was the first call in guest to the “Diane Rehm Show” that day. They ask you a lot of questions before they let you talk. I’ve never called in to speak on a talk show before or since. Diane Rehm can be very charming. But not with me. “I explained, that I was from a mixed Jewish-Christian background, that I had practiced law in Dallas, that the top leaders of the Middle Eastern community were my friends and I had handled discrimination cases for them in the tri-state area of Texas, Arkansas, and Oklahoma. Although, I have never prayed very much I am doing it right now. If we retaliate against Iraq for this disaster, we will only compound it. No doubt there is much anger toward the Israelis in the Middle East. But the one thing I know from my close relations with my friends from the Middle East, that down deep their resentment is much greater towards America than Israel. Retaliation will end up as a disaster.”

    Deepak Chopra’s response was “I agree with everything he has just said.”

    Diane Rehm’s response was TO CUT ME OFF THE AIR.

    A few months later Diane Rehm was in Jacksonville for a fundraiser for the local public television station. I made a significant contribution in order to be invited to a special dinner for her and Neal Conan of “Talk of the Nation.” I had hoped to get a chance to ask her why did she cut me off. I did.

    Diane Rehm’s answer: “Let me tell you, I have two phones and when I don’t want to hear something, I can cut the caller off. If you wanted to bring up what you did, then you needed to have taken it to Congress and not to me.” Really. (In other words……. I need to be able to censor or I could lose my job)

    All I can say is, don’t expect any meaningful analysis from the American media when there can be repercussions, financial or otherwise. There might be one or two exceptions, but I doubt it.

  24. It IS difficult for most people to understand what it means to be transgender, but let me assure you, it is a real condition and the better we understand it, the better we can treat our neighbors. As the parent of a transgender son, I know firsthand about the difficulties learning about, accepting and advocating for transgender people. The key thing to know is that like you and me, they are PEOPLE! That is all. They just want to live their lives, go to work, fix dinner, walk the dog, etc., just like anyone else. Nobody needs to worry about what clothes or hairstyles others are wearing. Civil rights are for all people. Let’s just get it done, Indiana!

  25. Pete,

    “Any ideas on that?”

    I do have an idea. Bernie Sanders is still a politician. He is limited to how far he can go. He’s “put it on the line” as much as any one person can. But he has to have support from outside his political operatives who can anticipate what is going to be thrown his way and interdict successfully. This is a new game. It’ll be nonstop. Just like a war. There must be a countervailing, communication organization (NGO) that has the experience and capabilities to successfully anticipate and interdict the moves that are going to be coming Sanders way from the various platforms, not just the Tea Party, financed by the Koch Brothers and their “super-rich friends.”

    The new NGO cannot be beholden to the Democratic Party establishment. That’s the first requirement.

    Do you remember the results when MoveOn tried to counter Donald Trump’s anti -Semitic remarks? They made matters worse. Their efforts “catapulted” Trump.

  26. Mama K; no way anyone but the mother or father of a transgender can know your feelings, I can and do recognize your love for your child and that is what matters. My daughter and I had a conversation which became a heated argument over Chaz Bono; she insisted that Chaz was just a lesbian pretending to be a man. She refused to accept that, while I don’t fully understand the condition I accepted that it is real and there are many suffering through this pain and confusion.

    Chaz Bono, being the daughter of very famous people, had been known to the pubic since she was a toddler. Her forced public appearances before and after surgery, were handled tastefully and truthfully with dignity. Caitlyn Jenner came blasting on the scene with all of the Kardashianism that earlier contact nurtured; an attitude that acceptance was her – their – due simply because of their names. I watched one of Caitlyn’s TV programs hoping to see how she was dealing with her new life; she seemed uncomfortable in her own skin, her purported acceptance of her new life wasn’t, “acceptable” is the only word that comes to mind, or natural to her. She seemed uncomfortable around the other transgenders; maybe it was simply too soon, maybe her age was a factor. Or; acceptance as Bruce Jenner along with the Kardashians gave her the belief that acceptance as Caitlyn Jenner would be automatic. I am only guessing at reasons here; but I would rather have Chaz as a friend in my life than Caitlyn due to the resulting personalities presented to the public.

    None of this should have anything to do with the civil and human rights of all LGBs and Ts. Special laws should not be necessary to protect their rights or to preserve the professed religious rights of others who may come in contact with them through business dealings. We cannot sink much lower or get much sillier in demands for individualized laws such as RFRA – no “fix” will ever get it right because the basis for such law is wrong.

  27. Marv, I didn’t read it earlier but your link to Harry Koch’s biography was fascinating. Apples don’t fall far from the tree.

  28. Pete,

    “The only issue is trying to figure out if there is a difference between he (Sanders) and Hillary in terms of how the opposition would react to either”

    The only way to safely field the best Democrat for President is to fully engage the Tea Party by the “countervailing NGO” BEFORE the Democratic National Convention. Using that strategy, the Democratic Party could then make an intelligent calculation as to who would be the most successful candidate. Any other strategy could lead to a disaster as there would be no opportunity for a “fallback” candidate if the calculations were wrong as to the opposition’s strategy and tactics.

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